Moles are an underground wildlife pest that can be tricky to spot and even trickier to get rid of. While they can help rid your yard of insects, their underground tunnels are infamous for destroying lawns and gardens.
Gather the Tools You’ll Need
A Pair of Gloves
A Pair of Boots (or closed-toe shoes)
Step 1: Survey Your Property
Carefully walk around your property to determine if you do have mole tunnels and locate where they are. Even during daytime, a flashlight will help you identify any raised areas before possibly tripping over them. Note that most species of moles are solitary, so even if you see many tunnels, it’s usually only the sign of one animal.
Step 2: Inspect Your Vegetation
Voles, gophers and groundhogs all create burrows and tunnels, so simply seeing those in your yard isn’t an automatic sign of a mole. Your next step should be to check your vegetation. Moles only eat insects and stay mostly underground, so any plant damage is a sign of another critter, like a vole. Monitor your plants every day to see if they look like they have been damaged or tampered with.
Step 3: Monitor For Critters
Knowing a mole’s physical characteristics is more helpful during a process of elimination. If you have noticed tunnels and damaged vegetation, there’s still a chance you could have a mole problem in addition to a separate herbivore pest. To be sure, make a point of monitoring your yard. The best way to do this would be to set up a camera for a day or two and watch the recording when you can. If you see a critter scurrying by, compare its appearance to that of a mole to determine what type of pest you’re dealing with. Keep in mind that moles only come on land to find a mate, so it is rarer to see one than other wildlife.
Step 4: Create A Long-Time Strategy
Once you have identified your pest, it’s time to develop a long-term strategy to get rid of it. It may be tempting to immediately start flattening the tunnels and mounds, but this could be dangerous if you haven’t removed the mole yet. Your first step should be setting traps and using repellents, whether you do this yourself or hire a mole control professional.
Moles can dig deeply, so a standard privacy fence around your yard won’t keep them out. However, smaller physical barriers around specific areas like your garden or and trees can keep them from tearing up roots and grass. These barriers must be fairly deep to be effective, which can make this task quite labour-intensive. Don’t create a physical mole barrier around your entire house unless you’re hiring professional help to do so.
The barrier should be at least 30 inches deep and five to six inches out of the ground. You can use the following materials:
- Gravel (buried inside a trench and covered with dirt)
- Wire Mesh
- Wire Cages
Yard Drainage Improvements
Most moles need moist soil that is easy to dig through and which contains the necessary nutrition for insects to flourish. Reducing the moisture on your property and increasing your soil drainage can make your property less conducive to mole tunnelling. The following tips can help prevent your lawn from becoming too moist:
- Keep mulch around your yard to a minimum.
- Rake up piles of leaves and other yard debris as often as you can. Otherwise, they’ll sit in your yard and retain moisture, allowing the soil underneath to remain wet.
- Trim back your trees and bushes regularly so that your yard sees as much sunlight as possible. This will help dry the yard out after every time it rains.
Use a dry roller across your lawn regularly and help compact the soil and make it less likely to retain moisture. Keeping it compact will also prevent moles from being able to dig through it.
- Use proper landscaping methods to prevent puddles or areas that don’t drain properly after it rains. This could mean surveying your yard after rainfall to see if water is pooling anywhere. If so, you may be able to take care of it yourself with a shovel, or you may want to call a professional landscaper if the job seems too big to complete on your own. Either way, properly landscaping your property is a great investment that helps keep out a multitude of other pests.
When to Call a Professional
Although moles are generally an easy DIY yard problem, sometimes it is better to hire help before the damage becomes too extensive or costly. If you’re experiencing any of the following scenarios, contact a wildlife professional who specializes in mole control:
- You aren’t sure if you’re experiencing a mole problem or if a similar type of critter has invaded your lawn. (Moles and voles, groundhogs and gophers can all yield similar damage and resemble each other.)
- You’ve used several DIY methods already, and nothing seems to be working.
- You can tell that there are multiple moles in your yard, so the problem will be too difficult to resolve on your own.
- The mole or moles have already caused extensive damage, so you want to prevent any more from happening.
- At any point, you’ve felt that your own or your family’s safety has been compromised.
There are also certain instances when you’re implementing preventative measures where it would be wise to contact a professional rather than attempting to do it on your own. This could include setting up physical barriers that reach the requirements necessary to keep out moles or working on any landscaping in order to prevent the buildup of moisture in your yard.